UHI donates $50,000 to better South Side health care

The recipient of the donation, the CommunityHealth Englewood Clinic, aims to provide free health care for those who can’t afford it and are uninsured.

By Julia Greenberg

In an effort to help meet local residents’ health care needs, the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) of the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) donated $50,000 to the new CommunityHealth Englewood Clinic (CHEC).

The grant will contribute to new medical equipment and financial support, development, and renovations for the building, which opened in September on West 63rd Street at South Halsted Parkway. The public clinic aims to provide free health care for low-income uninsured individuals.

“This grant contribution exemplifies the ongoing commitment of UHI to advance medical care and the quality of life on the South Side and beyond as we work to close the large health disparities and connect patients with primary care physicians in conjunction with our over-arching mission,” Associate Vice President for Strategic Affiliations and the Urban Health Initiative Quin R. Golden said in a University press release.

The UHI aims to improve patient care, education, and medical research in the South Side and serves as the link between the UCMC and the surrounding community.

UHI has come under fire for its initiatives which transfer patients in a non-critical position from the emergency room to surrounding clinics. Students, panelists, and the Chicago Tribune have questioned whether sending lower-income Medicare patients to these clinics is ethical.

The new facility includes eight patient exam rooms, a lab, a prescription dispensary, and a classroom for health education. Four dental facilities and a lab are currently being renovated. Twice per week, staff members from the Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Residency Program pursue ambulatory training at CHEC while they treat patients.

At its West Town location, CommunityHealth has provided medical assistance to over 32,000 uninsured people from the greater Chicago area as the largest volunteer-based free clinic in Illinois. Now, a growing Englewood location will be able to reach more people in the South Side community.

“Working with CommunityHealth provides an excellent opportunity for the University of Chicago Medical Center, through the Urban Health Initiative, to partner with an organization that is deeply committed to meeting the core health needs of South Side residents—with a great sense of compassion,” said Dr. James N. Woodruff, program director of Internal Medicine Residency Training at the Medical Center in the same press release.